Students had the opportunity to swing by Metzger Lawn on March 22 to 23 to receive tickets for a shot at bouncy house jousting or for snacks – all in the name of English learning.
Demonstrating and Reaching Out
In its third year, the Celebration of Student Writing continues to offer students in over 30 English classes the opportunity to use various formats to demonstrate what they have learned and then reach out with that information to engage other Biola students.
The program has not undergone any large changes since its beginning, but some small difference this year include a partnership with the Biola Writing Center and had an inflatable jousting competition area. With approximately 600 students, booths were set up on Metzger Lawn from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on March 22 and 23. Using a variety of different approaches, individuals or groups of English students stood by their projects to share them with visitors.
Celebration of Expression
“The celebration is an opportunity to say to a fine art student, to a painter, ‘How do you express this? What’s something that you believe in? How might you express what you’ve learned in something that’s closer to you that you think others would enjoy?’” said Aurora Matzke, co-director of the CSW and assistant professor of English.
An addition this year is a partnership with the Writing Center. The CSW began with only the first year writing program and has since included other English classes and the Biola Library.
“We’ve tried to keep the focus on students and students celebrating. At the same time, we’ve tried to add a little bit each year with participants,” Matzke said.
The Writing Center provides a resource for students to receive guidance and instruction to improve different aspects of their writing that may be lacking. It is not a proofreading service, but rather seeks to help students see long-term improvement in their writing.
“Writing is essential to most classes at Biola, not just English majors. Sometimes just English people hear about it and so we were wanting to just get people involved, make them feel like it’s their writing center where they can come for help. It’s free, it’s all about students feeling empowered in their classes to be able to express themselves,” said Heather Spradley, student worker at the Writing Center and senior philosophy major.
Differences this Year
The only other major difference this year was the inclusion of a bounce house jousting arena, which is the third variation of a bounce house that has been featured at the CSW. Sophomore English major Lani Foronda collected tickets at the jousting arena, a role she also held last year, and felt this year’s option garnered less support.
“I feel like not so much [attention was created with the jousting arena], but I feel like it’s because people don’t know what this is because last year we had the big hamster ball races and that you could see all the way from the library, so I feel like we need a sign or something,” Foronda said.
Overall, the event was busiest around 2 p.m. Some projects, for example, raised awareness about whale captivity at Seaworld, processed foods, common perceptions of Biola and the greater community, teaching or adolescent suicide, among a myriad of other topics. The projects created a positive environment for students within and without the participating classes to share information about things they find interesting.
“The ability to come in and experience it, we hope, not only enables them to be proud of, cheer on, be interested in the other new members of their community but should also then remind them, spark in them, refresh them on the things that writing has to offer even as they might move past their core work and dive deeper into their majors,” Matzke said. “Returning to that learning can be a joyful experience and not a hardship.”